For any night shoot to truly be a success you need to plan, and your plan needs to comprise of three key areas:
You can of course not plan your shoots and just wing it, you might get lucky all the stars will align (excuse the intended pun there) or you might not. On my last three shoots I had two out of the three elements planned, all accept the weather; The weather of course being the most fickle and unpredictable one. As each month we only have a limited time under the Milky Way we sometimes need to take a leap of faith as the weather might be pass by quickly, or fog might set in... who knows.
While opportunities have been plentiful on many occasions my arch nemesis anxiety, depression. and fatigue have stumped my effort to even leave the house let alone spend a night under the stars. The few times I have managed to break those shackles I have been thwarted by weather in particular clouds and fog so my recent attempts have been completely unsuccessful.
On my last night shift I decided I wanted to try some new composition ideas out at the Dunes near Anna bay, I checked the timing which gave me a limited window between 2130 and 2330 before the half Moon would rise and steel the show. Now I just had to wait and see about the last two factors. Come Sunday afternoon I'd had enough of my shackles, and I'd checked the weather and it all looked good for a night sand dunes and stars.
I headed out towards Anna bay to trudge through the dunes with my compositions in mind I had intentionally headed out before sunset so that I could capture a high contrast dune shot during the day, also to find my night composition would be far easier in day light than at night.
I had about two hours to kill between sunset and the Milky Way rising which I spent aimlessly wandering the dunes in search of this elusive ridgeline, and watching a little Netflix on the phone. I know, I know... enjoy being outside, and leave your phone alone... It wasn't until about 2300 that I found a small ridge that line that could work, I setup the camera took some shots and that was was that.
All seems rather dismissive doesn't it, well that's because by the time I found the ridge line I was too tired to think properly and failed to correctly shoot my composition. I noticed the errors as soon as I got home and have since dismissed the shots.
All in all though the night was a success, I found almost everything I wanted and it felt good to be out and about getting creative. Pushing my boundaries and trying new thing this is always a good way to move forward and to beat those shackles into submission...
Coincidence, I think not.